Although you may not have thought it was possible, I've also got a really great idea for a movie version of Gilligan's Island. If you don't believe me, you'll just have to take a look.
Otto and Miller have returned to Earth and they're holding a press conference
in Las Vegas. All of the major media outlets are there to cover it - we're
talking National Enquirer, TV Guide, People Magazine, etc (ok, I was being
sarcastic, but maybe one small serious paper actually is represented just
for the irony of it, eg. Tikkun?). As it turns out, the press conference
seems to be more of a fund raising event for Otto and Miller than anything
else, and the only allusion made to the aliens is the Zero Halliburton
briefcase they carry with them wherever they go. The circumstances of their
arrival and how they managed to get press coverage is never explained.
None of this is important, because the movie isn't really about them at all.
The star of the film is a disillusioned reporter working for one of these stupid magazines and he's been sent to cover what he knows is a totally ridiculous event. Rapidly moving through middle age, he had always believed that he was cut out for something better than the cheesy reporting job which he finds himself stuck in. His dream was to write a great American Novel which would expose the ambiguities and idiocies of the great American Dream. By now, however, he's pretty much given up and decided that at least he might as well have some fun with it, and that this looks like a perfect job to turn into a fun-filled drug-fueled uinhibited weekend.
Sound familiar? It's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. It's already been done you say? Wrong. The story has been done, but the book has not. The existing movie did nothing more than depict the events as they were described in the book. But the events were meaningless; it's the way the they were described which had meaning, and this meaning was entirely lost in that movie. Naturally, we have to change the story enough so that it isn't Fear and Loathing, but we know that deep down it really is.
Like the book, the movie will reveal the absurdity of a society which tries to simultaneously worship rugged individualism, crass materialism, and Calvinistic morals (ie. the Protestant work ethic). And the futility of trying to fulfill our dreams by creating a mecca which is actually antagonistic to each one of those values (a place where people act like sheep as they gamble away the money with which they could have purchased their beloved material goods). The American Dream has been turned into a common denominator shopping mall hell (Mojo Nixon) by society's addiction to overstimulation and the promise of instant gratification.
The book accomplishes all of that while being totally irreverant in an absolutely hilarious manner. It makes outstanding use of ironic understatement as we see Las Vegas, and by extension all of America, through the eyes of an impartial and imperturbable viewer who just happens to have a knack for creating chaos wherever he goes. This is most certainly not an impartial characterization of the viewer since this is how he describes himself, but it is the way he thinks he sees things and therefore the way the movie audience will see them also.
Here's a line from the book which demonstrates the quality that the movie must capture: At one point I tried to drive the Great Red Shark into the laundry room of the Landmark Hotel - but the door was too narrow and the people inside seemed dangerously excited. Of course the people were excited - some drunk nut was trying to drive his car through the door! It would never occur to our puzzled hero that this might be a problem.
In our movie, we will have to accomplish this feeling through total control of the mis-en-scene. All of the details will be thought out with a specific purpose. I've seen it written of the original Repo Man that "there is more wit in the background noise than in some whole movies". In the sequel this has to be taken even further, because it is the background noise which will deliver the message (among this noise will be a constant repetition of the phrase "The more you X, the less intelligent you are", where X might be using cell phones, the internet, SUVs, Saddam Hussein, cable television, thigh masters, etc...).
But we still need an actual story, so here it is. Our main character arrives in Vegas and for all of his flaws, he's still his own man and not a part of the background noise. That he is separate from the background is made clear by many visual clues, such as the camera angles, the lighting, etc. As it becomes obvious that a weekend in Vegas offers absolutely no answers to his questions or solutions to his problems, we see him slowly begin to fade into the background, becoming a part of "The Crowd" which he had always considered himself so superior to.
And then, when he's almost completely sucked under, he discovers some simple people who truly are apart from the crowd. It isn't because they try to be, it's just because they are. They have found their own personal version of the American Dream, and it's good and it's pure (I stole this idea from Alex Cox himself!). Our hero doesn't quite recognize it as he goes on his way, but he doesn't entirely miss it either. So he rides off into the sunset with us viewers not really knowing whether he will eventually figure it out or not. Final fade out.
What, are you kidding, do you think I've written a screenplay already for this? Hey, but I do have an opening shot, so tell me what you think of this -
This is done the same as in the original Repo Man, except
that the graphics are updated so the maps are in color and looking
like they've come off of a fancy on-board navigation system. The actual route
shown in the maps is not the one used in the original nor does it have
anything to do with the route being used by the reporters in the sequel. But
it will have some metaphorical relevance to the meaning of the film.
The music ends and we cut to:
Cut to close-up of old Huckleberry Hound cartoon. Huck is singing "Clementine".
Cut to interior of car, immediately revealing that cartoon is being watched on personal electronics device held in the lap of the passenger in the car. The cartoon sound track is fainter, but continues to play quietly in background as a conversation begins between the driver (the reporter) and the passenger (his younger protege who may or may not be a backstabbing schemer, something which the reporter is completely aware of but not particularly concerned about).
Begin conversation: ok, I haven't figured this out yet. I told you I had just started.
But I do know that the end of this scene we'll hear, just barely, one last line of dialog from the cartoon (not in the original but done in a voice to make it sound like it): "how come you never eat mushmelon, huck?". Huck doesn't answer, but obviously the answer would be "I don't want to eat mushmelon. The more you eat mushmelon, the less intelligent you are." and we will figure out someplace later in the film to sneak this in among all of the other "X makes you stupid" background comments we'll be hearing.
Cut to the rest of the movie. Ok, somebody, just give me the go on this and I'll have the rest of it worked out in no time!